Original left hand drive, U.S. delivery formerly owned by Sarah Jeffords and three owners from new
1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Long Wheelbase Sedan with Division
Coachwork by Park Ward, Ltd.
Chassis no. LBLC4
Engine no. C4B
In a boom period for Rolls-Royce, there were a considerable number of Silver Clouds built on the final series of the long lived six cylinder engine, before the introduction of the V8 came. By this stage, it is generally accepted that this power unit had perfected over the course of its decades of production in various forms. Although production of the stock model was numerous, variants of this were rather less so. There were still a few options that the surviving coachbuilders completed on this chassis, but it was hard to better the undeniable elegance and grace of the factory coachwork. By this era, it was generally assumed that the owner of the Rolls-Royce was also its driver, a trend that had started just before the war. But this was not always the case, and for those with the luxury of being chauffeur driven it made a lot of sense to order a long wheelbase car, allowing for some extra leg room in the back. These extended cars were built in house by Park Ward.
That is precisely what the original owner, Mrs. Sarah Jeffords would have wished for, when she ordered her Silver Cloud at J.S. Inskip. Delivered in April 1958, this original U.S. import was as new to left hand drive specification, another aspect which was not at all common in this era, as it took longer for these cars to be built and clients frequently did not wish to wait.
Today, Jeffords name may not resonate internationally, but in U.S. and local Philadelphia circles it most certainly will. Walter Jeffords, was a successful investment banker who together with Sam Riddle, the well known socialite and millionaire, owned what has been described as one of, if not the greatest Thoroughbred racehorses of all time - Man O'War.
Jeffords married Riddle's niece Sarah Dobson Fiske in 1911, and around this Riddle gave his niece a small farmhouse on a piece of land just north of Philadelphia. This house was entirely transformed by Wilson Eyre Jr, in 1914 into Hunting Hill Mansion, a 38 room old world style residence. Between then and the mid 1960s the Jeffords would accumulate the surrounding land, until their estate comprised more than 2,000 acres, by far the largest privately owned parcel of land in the state, all the more remarkable in that it was just 16 miles from downtown Philadelphia. Walter Jeffords died in 1960 and his wife in 1967 at which point the land was subsequently acquired by the state and today forms Ridley Creek State Park.
As Man O'War was, this is a very fine and rare example of its breed, with a good lineage. It is known that Mrs. Jeffords enjoyed being chauffeured in the car, and on occasions would travel to visit local friends, such as members of the du Pont family. When she became too old to appreciate it, the car was sold through famed auto dealers The Vintage Car Store in Nyack, at which point it passed to the former owner Joseph Gaskill.
While in Mr. Gaskill's ownership and being regularly exercised at RROC events, it came to the attention of the present owner, a noted enthusiast of the marque. Over time, a friendship developed and when Mr. Gaskill also became too old to enjoy the Rolls it passed into its current third ownership, this being in around 1996. By this stage the car was in good original order throughout, but was showing its age a little and the decision was made to sympathetically refurbish its paintwork and interior to return the Rolls to as new condition. This comprised a repaint in the original livery and replacement of the interior with new Connolly hide.
Featured as the cover car of the Flying Lady May/June edition in 2000, it has been shown by the current owner at numerous Rolls-Royce Owners Club and other events. Some measure of its condition can be gauged by the fact that it was a Class Award winner at the RROC Annual Meet just four years ago.
Long Wheelbase Clouds accounted for just 122 of the total production of 2,350 cars built and it is thought that of those left hand drive cars accounted for less than a third, making them exceedingly rare. With a prestigious original ownership and desirable specification, this well maintained Rolls-Royce is deserving of close inspection, and is accompanied with a strong file of documentation regarding its build, the Jeffords ownership and its coachwork design.
- We are delighted to note that the vendor drove this Rolls-Royce from Washington DC to the sale venue in Philadelphia without incident.